This code of conduct is devised for the safety and benefit of Wessex Road Club and its members. It outlines the minimum standards expected on all rides. If in doubt, consult your ride leader or any committee member.
Although we operate informal rides, we also have a duty to show good conduct to the general public while out on rides
- It is your own responsibility to select a ride that you are capable of completing.
- The runs leader of the day decides where the destination is and the route to be taken.
- The rules of the road must be obeyed and the Highway Code should be followed at all times.
- We always attempt to avoid main roads and use lanes but this is not always possible.
- The safety of every member on the ride is of paramount importance.
- Be careful when braking within a group, be aware of riders behind you.
Hard shell helmets are recommended.
- When encountering horses, slow down, let their riders know you are approaching (speak – don’t shout – so that the horse recognises an approaching human), and then pass single file when it is safe to do so. Do not shout, or undertake any action that may startle the horse.
- You must give signals to other members of the ride to warn of obstructions, eg approaching or following traffic, pot holes, parked vehicles.
- No more than two-abreast and single file on busy narrow roads.
- No aero attachments nor TT bikes to be used in group rides.
- Respect must be shown to other road users and club members.
- The country code must be obeyed.
- If you don’t have mudguards and are riding in the wet, consider other club members.
- Also, any cafes we use, you must use a cover on the seats to prevent soiling the furniture.
- Wear appropriate clothing for the ride. Bright clothing is advisable for night riding. A helmet is essential.
- Good working lights are essential for night riding.
- We recommend all riders join British Cycling, with Ride membership or above, for liability insurance and other benefits this provides, especially if you ride regularly.
- Ride in groups of a suitable and safe number (no bigger than 10).
Communication within the group is the most important part of riding within a group. We ask that all members are respectful and make other riders aware of dangers and obstructions on the road. In a bunch all riders are responsible for each other’s safety. The only way a group can safely ride together is if the riders at the front and back act as the ears and eyes of the whole group and the messages are passed along the lines.
Pointing at an obstruction upcoming whether a pot hole, puddle or other obstruction helps warn other riders that there is an obstruction upcoming. This can be accompanied with a shout of ‘hole’, but it does not need to have a shout each time as this may make the group jumpy having each manhole cover and small road imperfection accompanied with a shout.
A shout of ‘gravel’ / ‘mud’ from the front rider particularly helpful shout on corners.
A shout of ‘car up’ / ‘car back’ (approaching from behind), or ‘car down’ / ‘car front’ (approaching from the front) warns other riders about traffic.
When riding in a group it is sometimes difficult to see what is clearly up the road, this can be particularly tricky if approaching a parked car or pedestrian that the whole group needs to avoid.
Pointing or gesturing with a bent arm behind your back to where the group needs to move to avoid the danger will mean ample warning is giving to all the riders in the group in particular the ones further back. Once again signals should be backed up with verbal warnings if appropriate to what the actual danger is ahead.
As much as we would like to be unrestricted when out riding on a bike, sometimes slowing down is the only option if the road narrows or an obstacle restricts a clear path that can be rode at high speed.
This could be because of a horse or a tractor in a narrow country lane or maybe just a general easing off of the pace. You can convey this message to the rest of the group by raising your arm out and motion as if you are gently patting an invisible dog.
If this does occur put your hand flat out to the side of your body and call out ‘stopping’. If possible, don’t slam on your brakes as there may be someone immediately behind you who hasn’t heard the call or isn’t anticipating a sudden stop in the road and it could be more dangerous than the initial reason you were stopping for in the first place.
Guidelines concerning novices, new members and guest riders. (now referred to as The Guest)
- The run is primarily for our members to enjoy and accomplish.
- The guest also should enjoy the run and not be put off cycling.
- If the above are achieved, we may have a new member.
- The leader decides if the Guest can ride, not other members.
- Having done so, you must be prepared to take responsibility for their well-being, in the event of a ‘bale out’, returning home with them, or delegating their return to a run member. Delegate a substitute run leader as necessary to complete the ride.
- Before halfway to the café, access how The Guest is doing? Can they make it comfortably?
- The Guest must provide a ‘contact & home phone no. & address.’
- Check their food and water, be prepared to share your supply.
- Check their spares, tyres, etc., can the group ‘cover’ for likely eventualities?
- Check their clothing, The weather could be a big factor for a novice?
The Approach and Assessment
- Try to be friendly and tactful in discovering The Guests capabilities.
- Ask what experience they have?
- How fit do they think they are?
- Tell them about the run, destination, distance, time and speed.
- Do they think they are up for it?
- Do they look OK?
- Is their bike OK? Old and badly kept? Brand new and unsuitable?
- A cheap fully suspended mountain bike, with knobbly tyres, beware! Conversely, a fit cross country rider on a ‘hardtail’ MTB, on slicks could be fine. BMX, no way!
- IF IN DOUBT, SAY NO.
If there is time, give advice, and ask them to return when better prepared.
Group Riding Tips
Trust is they key of riding within a group, each rider must ensure they are riding smoothly and avoid any sudden braking or swerving.
Try not to overlap your front wheel, with the rear wheel of the rider ahead.
Groups often adopt a tighter formation on hills, so if you stand up in the saddle, change up a gear and apply extra pressure on the pedals to avoid momentarily slowing and hitting the front wheel of the rider behind.
When cornering with other riders around you try to maintain a smooth and predictable line and avoid heavy braking. Be careful when braking within a group, be aware of riders behind you.